PICK: 5 Best Korean Dramas With LGBTQ Characters

kdrama LGBTQ

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

kdrama LGBTQ
Credit: JTBC, tvN

On July 16th, thousands of people gathered at the City Hall to attend the 23rd Seoul Queer Culture Festival. As the annual event has been halted for three years due to the pandemic, various LGBTQ characters have appeared on TV, filling in the shoes of the popular event during its long hiatus. Recently, the first-ever reality show of sexual minorities called Merry Queer went on air and has featured stories of different LGBTQ couples. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at five dramas featuring inspiring queer characters.

Be Melodramatic (2019)

Be Melodramatic revolves around three women in their 30s who share their troubles, dreams, and love stories. The trio lives together alongside Hyo Bong (played by Yoon Ji On), the younger brother of Eun Jung (Chun Woo Hee). Hyo Bong is portrayed as a sweet and trustworthy character as he carefully listens and advises the trio whenever they talk about their lives. The drama focuses on Hyo Bong’s thoughts and life from the episode when he gets kicked out of a restaurant just because he was eating out with his boyfriend, Moon Soo (Chun Sin Hwan), and it leads him to open his soul to Eun Jung as he confessed how difficult it has been living as a gay man. Despite his shocking confession, the people around him don’t react dramatically to his sexual identity and treat him as usual. Through the character, the drama presents an inclusive family that accepts, welcomes, and celebrates all its members’ differences. Be Melodramatic was highly recognized for its depiction of an ideal society that includes people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and ideas.

Itaewon Class (2020)

JTBC’s Itaewon Class follows the revenge and success story of Park Sae Roy (Park Seo Joon), who lost his dreams and family due to a malicious scheme set by CEO Jang Dae Hee (Yoo Jae Myung). To avenge him, Park Sae Roy opens his restaurant in Itaewon and hires Ma Hyun Yi (Lee Joo Young) as his cook. Here, she is described as an enigmatic employee who keeps getting into fights with other staff members over every little thing. The drama has Park Sae Roy as the only person who knows about her secret, and the secret unveils in the final round of a cooking competition when she says, “I’m Chef Ma Hyun Yi of DanBam. I’m a transgender. And today, I’m going to win.” Turns out, Ma Hyun Yi was a transgender who had been saving up to get her surgery. After revealing her gender identity, My Hyeon Hi goes through a drastic growth as many support her for who she is. Lee Joo Young satisfied the original fans with her outstanding portrayal of Ma Hyun Yi when she appeared with her gorgeous silver hair that looked just like the original cartoon character’s.

MINE (2021)

tvN’s MINE centers around two daughters-in-law of Hyowon Group who wants to break away from their restricted lives. Despite her brilliant decision-making skills, the first daughter-in-law Jung Seo Hyun’s (Kim Seo Hyung) position gets threatened as soon as her relationship with Choi Suzy (Kim Jung Hwa) comes to light. The scene where Seo Hyun answers, “She is mine,” to the question from Mother Emma (Ye Soo Jung), “What does Suzy mean to you?” serves the meaning behind the title of the drama. The show focuses on the couple as it portrays their story starting from their first encounter and hints at a reunion with an open ending in its last episode. The storyline of MINE made the drama receive rave reviews, and fans dubbed it as the Korean version of Carol.

Nevertheless (2021)

JTBC’s Nevertheless is a romance drama that tells the love story of two people with different love philosophies. The show garnered significant attention among global Nexflix viewers, thanks to the dazzling looks of Han So Hee and Song Kang. Meanwhile, the romantic relationship between Soon Yol (Lee Ho Jung) and Seo Ji Wan (Yoon Seo Ah), the so-called “Sol-Ji-Wan couple,” was another element that made viewers stay tuned in the drama. Although the two have been close friends since middle school, they eventually become a couple as they realize their feelings for each other. The couple shares cute and romantic emotions throughout the show showing friendship and love. The drama received rave reviews for depicting their realization of love and their life together.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

 

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ENA’s Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a story about a young woman named Woo Young Woo (Park Eun Bin) with Asperger’s syndrome who grows into a talented lawyer through solving various cases. In episode 2, “The Wedding Dress that Slipped Off,” Woo takes on a case where a father sues his in-law’s hotel for a massive amount of compensation for the hotel’s mishap. Turns out, his daughter’s wedding dress came off while walking down the aisle, leading to the bride exposing herself. Since then, she has been receiving psychotherapy. The more and deeper Woo Young Woo works on the case, she senses that there might be something that the bride is hiding from others. Toward the end of the episode, the bride brings an end to the case by confessing her love for her closest female friend to her father. The second episode proves Woo Young Woo’s outstanding ability as a lawyer and naturally delivers the theme of sexual diversity to viewers.

 

Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

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